Summer Reading Extended

07 June 2024

Senior Producer here again to pull back the curtain on our Summer Reading special. This year's edition (#18!) was a relatively orderly one, with a trio of interviews that shared some common ground in pop culture, exploring philosophical issues in popular TV series, fictional movie universes, and semi-obscure sci-fi stories. The episode didn't wind up leaving too much on the cutting room floor, but there's still something extra to be heard in the uncut interviews below.

First up is Nathaniel Goldberg from Washington & Lee University, whose new book (co-authored with Chris Gavaler) is Revising Reality: How Sequels, Remakes, Retcons, and Rejects Explain the World. Nat holds the distinction of having been our first guest of the covid era, where he talked about superhero philosophy. This time he told Josh and Ray how we can understand developments in law, history, and science by applying models that writers and moviemakers use to expand their fictional universes.


Next up is another recent book taking a deeper look at entertainment, specifically television. Sandra Laugier teaches philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris but joined Josh and Ray in person at KALW to talk about her book, TV-Philosophy in Action: The Ethics and Politics of TV Series. For her, programs like Breaking Bad and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are not just aesthetically excellent TV shows but are also vehicles for moral education that become part of the events of their viewers' lives.


To round off this year's episode, we hear from Sara Uckelman from Durham University—a self-described "philosopher of language by day, writer of speculative fiction by night." Josh and Ray are both avid readers of science fiction and were interested Sara's suggestion for philosophical sci-fi, from both her own prolific pen and from other recent writers she's enjoyed. Sara also described how her fiction writing and her more formal philosophical work (mostly in logic) made use of many of the same tools.